Book Review - Outliers

I was stoked to be reading this book. It comes with good reviews and it is meant to be uplifting. I do not view success like most people do. The simple and ordinary and every day equates to success to me most of the time. Sometimes I dream big but then settle back into the ordinary. I have peace of mind and I am content. I like the idea that health could be related to community, something that modernity has been moving away from. The book starts with a story about how community and values affects who we are and how this relates to success.

From the get go it was clear what the book is about. Outliers. Persons who do things out of the ordinary. We may think of success as grit and talent but we owe a lot to our circumstances. I like that the book draws attention to this because we will be less hard on others and ourselves and we should want to level the playing field. We are asked to think about how people are given systematic advantages to progress in life. I like this quote from the book, "we prematurely write off people as failures."

One of the stories was about an ace programmer who scored perfect on the SAT Maths exam. For a moment I felt like a genius too because I too had scored a perfect eight hundred on the SAT Maths exam.

I sit here telling myself, much of our successes are due to luck and opportunity that meets talent and determination. Once we get our chances (and this will be different for everyone) we have to take them and put in the hours. The moral of the story for me is that we are going to get chances and do not be afraid to take those chances and then be prepared to put in the work. And from my experience you have that passion and drive for what you are doing. It also occurs to me that if some of us are lucky then some of us are unlucky.

Also, is there room for everyone to be the greatest? Some people are going to have to do the jobs that no one wants to do and these jobs come with less rewards and opportunities to be the greatest. Maybe we need to change our definition of greatness. Someone who has sold provisions in the market for years from their small plot of land is a great person and great success, for example. They are the unsung heroes. Do we need to start celebrating these people more? Like how we did during covid when we celebrated the nurses and healthcare workers and the essential workers.

I like that the writer shows us that no one makes it alone. Many of the greats had help. One thing for sure is that I love reading the stories of people's successes. It gives hope and inspiration. A celebration and triumph of the human spirit. I think if we equate being great to making it to the top then there is only room for a few but if we say that greatness happens when we make the best of where we are then there is room for everyone.

I like this realization from the book and I am going to quote it, "Who we are cannot be separated from where we're from". That is why we are often told never forget where you come from. This quote cemented my takeaways from the book, "To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success—the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history—with a society that provides opportunities for all." I am lucky. I am happy that I got to read this book and it has made an impact on me.


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